The Rambam (hilchos chanukah ) writes that the mitzvah of Chanukah is a 'Mitzvah chavivah ad meod' a commandment which is cherished to the extreme. This is quite a statement from one who is so famous for being anti-extremist!
What is it about Chanukah that is so much more cherishable than other mitzvos? Personally, I love Pesach & Sukkos with their great festive spirit, a lot more than the mundane feeling of the Chanukah workday!
If this strikes a familiar chord amongst the readers, I guess we can all use a better understanding of what Chanukah is all about.
The R'Y' MiLunil (a contemporary of the Rambam) says an amazing chiddush regarding Chanukah (see shabbos 21a). - Even if NOT for the miracle of the lights, we would have an eight day holiday to celebrate & thank Hashem for the victory over the Greeks! The miracle of Chanukah was so great it even tops our victory over Egypt! Pharoah oppressed us with physical & emotional hardship. Haman wanted us dead. But the Greeks were set on decimating our spirituality, and overcoming them was the greatest salvation ever!
The sefer Seder Hayom (the earliest source for 'modeh ani') writes a short prayer to be said before lighting the menorah. It is a proclamation of joy mixed with humbleness regarding the great gifted opportunity that we have, to do G-D's will. Although this would be appropriate before any mitzvah, hadlakas neiros is the mitzvah of choice for this prayer.
Chanukah is the one Yom Tov that was created by, and is dedicated as an expression of our passion for Torah & Mitzvos. The wars and subsequent victory was not a strategic move to protect our freedom or lives, but an anxious, illogical, passion-driven offensive to keep the object of our love. - Torah & Mitzvos.
Someone who does not feel like he's doing favors for G-D, but rather privileged to be close enough to G-d to fulfil his commandments, can properly understand the simchah of Chanukah.
Those of us (myself included) who still need the doughnuts and gifts to lift their spirits, are sorrowfully unaware of the awesome treasure they're sitting on. Let us use the remaining time of this spiritual holiday to think about the almost unthinkable; what if the Greeks would have been successful? It's unimaginable - The world at large, and ourselves specifically, without Torah and Mitzvos!?
What would we look like if we would believe that 'ein lanu chelek b'Elokei Yisrael' - we have no connection to G-D? It is well known that a Jew living without Torah would be worse than the lowest of the gentiles. The unfulfilled potential greatness within him would lead him ti the greatest of evils!
On the other hand, how lofty is the life of the simplest Jew who keeps Torah and Mitzvos! How charity and kindness and actually talking to G-D three times a day is STANDARD! We relate to the Master of the world in our eating, drinking, business and social life, and even through the halacos of using the facilities! How enriched we are that even the most minuscule parts of our lives bond us with the Infinite Creator and eternity!
Chanukah is truly the Yom Tov to express and realize 'Ashreinu mah tov chelkainu'! Chavivah ad meod!
Let us focus on the thankful words we say every day "Baruch Elokeinu shebaranu l'chvodo, v'hidilanu min hatoim v'chayei olam nota b'socheinu" !
Ah freilichin lichtigeh Chanukah!
Posted By KH to KollelH blog at 12/09/2010 12:03:00 AM